A letter from John and Gwen Haspels in Ethiopia
Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom, prisoners suffering in iron chains, then they cried to the Lord. He brought them out of darkness … and broke away their chains. He sent forth His Word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave. Tell of His works WITH SONGS OF JOY!! Ps. 107:10, 14-15, 22.
Have you ever been in a blackout or deep in a cave when the lights went out? What was your reaction when the lights came back on? Here in Addis we have been having blackouts for several days now. On a dark night when the lights come back on you can hear people throughout the neighborhood clapping and cheering. An even GREATER JOY is when a man who was blind, living in darkness, can now see.
FILLED WITH LAUGHTER: As Lugutay walked out of the hospital, he was high-stepping as if he were still blind. He was the first Suri ever to have a cornea transplant. It was amazing to him that someone had to die in order for him to have this transplant. It was just last year that Lugutay was baptized in Maja along with more than 200 others. He got into the car and sat down next to Barkitay. Barkitay had just checked out of the Korean Hospital after a lengthy surgery to remove a baseball-size bone tumor in his jaw.
They were both FILLED WITH LAUGHTER as we drove along. Suddenly Lugutay started laughing with even more gusto. I asked him, “What is so funny?” Looking into Barkitay’s mouth and howling with laughter, Lugutay said, “Just like an old man, he doesn’t have any teeth!!” Barkitay’s teeth in his lower left jaw were removed together with the jawbone during surgery. No teeth, but their mouths were FILLED WITH JOY AND LAUGHTER. Then they cried to the Lord. He brought them out of darkness … He sent forth His Word and healed them.
SHOUTS OF JOY: Early this month and uninhibited by a long tradition of doing things decently and in order, the Maja congregation raised their hands with SHOUTS OF JOY to bless the four new elders, three men and one woman, who had just been chosen to lead them.
Their SHOUTS OF JOY were for much more, however. Maja means "The Water is Near." They had drunk deeply from the Living Water. Three weeks earlier they dedicated their new church building with a three-day conference. On the first day of the conference a man came, clutching his hand in pain. He had just been bitten by a snake. One of the elders standing before the people the day of the election was the man who had been bitten by the snake. No wonder there were SHOUTS OF JOY.
The new elder was not the only person to be attacked by snakes during the three-day conference. Four other people were bitten in Maja and three others were bitten in nearby villages. One of those died from his bite. So many snakebites in those three days is very unusual!! No wonder there were SHOUTS OF JOY as the people witnessed God’s outstretched arm in deliverance and protection. The Lord … confirmed the message of His Grace by enabling them [Paul and Barnabas] to do signs and wonders Acts 14:3.
Freed from Chains: “Please come to the police station,” begged a policeman as Dr. Haili came back from evangelizing in the villages around Maja. He was tired and thirsty. At the police station they brought out a man whose ankles were chained. They said he was mad and violent and very dangerous. Dr. Haili commanded, “ In the mighty name of Jesus of Nazareth, COME OUT!” The evil spirit came out and the man was restored to his right mind.
Riding back to Tulegit in the car with Dr. Haili and the man who had just been delivered, I was amazed at how invigorated and FULL OF JOY Dr. Haili had become. He related story after story of the mighty things God had done. In his sermon on the day of the election, Dr. Haili preached from Luke 4:18-19, “… He has anointed me to preach GOOD NEWS to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim FREEDOM for the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Share Holders: To all of you who have shared in the planting of the church in Maja, we say, “Thank you.” God has done amazing things and has given each of us the privilege of sharing in His Work. Please share together with us in our Joy.
Together in His Service,
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